CDCN: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Chris: My name is Chris Kimura and I’m 50 years old and I live in San Diego, California where I own and operate my real estate brokerage company. I’m very blessed to have the best wife in the world, the greatest 15 year old step-son, and having the never ending love and support from all my family and friends.
CDCN: Can you tell us about your diagnosis (e.g., when you were diagnosed, your first symptoms, etc.)?
Chris: I remember the day I was diagnosed with Multicentric Castleman disease very clearly. It was an April morning in 1994 when I awoke with extreme chills, night sweats, fever, and I also noticed under my chin an enlarged lymph node. I have a friend who is a doctor for Scripps Health and saw him that morning, and as sick as I was, he told me to get that lymph node biopsied as soon as I could. I think he was thinking I had Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. As soon as I could, I made an appointment with a UCSD oncologist and had the lymph node biopsied and, miraculously, the pathologist and doctor came back with a Castleman disease diagnosis. From what I have heard, Castleman disease is a very tough disease to diagnose.
CDCN: What has been your greatest hardship with your Castleman disease?
Chris: Far and away my greatest hardship dealing with Castleman disease, since it’s such a poorly understood disease and it’s basically incurable, is the mental aspect of dealing with my disease. Not knowing the quality or quantity of lifespan that one has when diagnosed with Castleman disease is probably the hardest thing I have had to deal with since being diagnosed.
CDCN: What was life like before your diagnosis?
Chris: Before I was diagnosed with Castleman disease in 1994, growing up in San Diego California and living so close to the beach, I did a lot of surfing and played baseball and basketball. I was going to the gym every other day, would go on 8 mile runs, and lived a very active lifestyle before I was diagnosed with my disease.
CDCN: What have you learned about yourself since your diagnosis?
Chris: Since being diagnosed with Castleman disease I have learned a great deal about myself. From sitting in my chemo chair every other Tuesday for my regular maintenance infusion, I have learned that there is always someone out there who has it worse off than I do. I have learned to be very grateful for all that has been bestowed upon me now and throughout my lifetime. I have been very blessed and am very grateful to live the life that I do! I have also learned that real life is about caring, loving, and giving back to others as much as I can to make this world a better place for all of us. I don’t wish Castleman disease upon anyone, but Castleman disease has made me a much better person and I’m very grateful for that!
CDCN: Why do you want to be a Castleman Warrior?
Chris: I want to be a Castleman warrior because Castleman disease is a poorly understood disease. I want to build Castleman disease awareness in order to raise money for more research to be done so that hopefully one day there will be a cure for all the people who are suffering from Castleman disease today.
CDCN: Thanks for sharing your story with us, Chris!